Henningsen Foods settles alleged Clean Water Act violations

July 8, 2020
Settlement with U.S. EPA includes $2 million in upgrades to egg processing facility plus civil penalty

LENEXA, Kan. – The United States and the state of Nebraska have reached a settlement with Henningsen Foods Inc. to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at the company’s egg processing facility in David City, Nebraska.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company will spend about $2 million in upgrades to reduce the amount of pollutants the facility sends to the David City wastewater treatment system. The company also agreed to pay a $827,500 civil penalty.

“We are encouraged by Henningsen’s willingness to upgrade its own facility and assist with upgrades to the David City wastewater treatment system,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “These actions will protect the residents of David City and Nebraska waters.”

Henningsen processes approximately 1.2 million eggs per day and is one of the largest egg processors in the state. The facility is subject to Clean Water Act regulations that prevent industries from overloading municipal wastewater treatment systems with industrial pollutants.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), high loads of egg-processing waste and cleaning solution generated by Henningsen are sent to the David City wastewater treatment facility. Since at least 2014, this waste has caused both Henningsen and David City to violate the Clean Water Act on multiple occasions by discharging pollutants in excess of state and federal limits to Keysor Creek, which flows into the North Fork Big Blue River. These pollutants included ammonia and oxygen-depleting substances that are toxic to aquatic life and potentially harmful to people. Further, EPA alleges that Henningsen repeatedly failed to submit timely and accurate pollutant monitoring information required by law.

As a result of this enforcement action, Henningsen has installed pretreatment equipment at its facility and agreed to operate and maintain it in order to reduce pollutants before they reach the David City wastewater treatment facility. The company will also continue to pay for its share of upgrades to the David City wastewater treatment facility to adequately treat Henningsen’s wastewater, and will increase the frequency of its pollutant monitoring and reporting.

The settlement is detailed in a Consent Decree that was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska on July 7, 2020, and will be subject to a 30-day public comment period before final court approval.

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